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Post Production Tips

Quick Beauty Retouch Video | 45 Minute Edit Condensed In 3 Minutes

By Hanssie on April 30th 2015

I’m not adept in Photoshop by any means; I know enough to do some damage, and I try to spend as little time as possible retouching images, so watching beauty edit videos are fascinating to me. With their attention to detail and the time it takes for one individual image (I’ve known photographers to spend 8 HOURS or more!), beauty retouching is an art in and of itself.


The following beauty retouch by Dave Kai Piper took almost 45 minutes and was sped up to 3 minutes to show you his post processing workflow for this particular image. The portrait was taken with one single Speedlight, a modifier and a Fuji X-T1. Throughout the video, there are brief explanations interjected to help you understand what he is doing and what tools are being used in each section.

Fuji X-T1
1/60th f5.6
ISO 320
Lens: 16-55mm F2.8 WR 
Lee Filters x 2 ND Grads 0.6 Soft & 0.9 Hard
Single speed light
Roundflash modifier

This is the SOOC photo, shot in RAW using Classic Chrome Film Simulation mode.


The images below are the two images, after the extensive retouch. The first image has a lighter finish as it was being used for a flier and needed to support text on the image. The second image is a brighter version suitable for printing and online gallery usage. It’s always wise as you retouch to keep in mind what the end product will be as it could change the way you process that image.


Image 1 – for flier


Image 2 – for printing/online


Watch Peliroja Beauty Editing Video

Retouching is such a subjective and controversial issue. It has been vilified in the media for all sorts of evils. Some people subscribe to the less is more camp, others the opposite. In any case, retouching in this industry, and especially in the fashion and commercial genre, is here to stay for a while. If you are interested in getting into the fashion/commercial photography field, check out Creative Retouching Essentials in A Day and Digital Photo Retouching both by Julia Kuzmenko McKim.

For more details on this particular edit, check out the original post here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mahbubul Alam

    There are topics to be learned in this post. I will get a
    lot of work. The job has been very good.

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    Wow! I’m glad the photographer stopped and display what he’s doing next. I’m just glad that I’m a photographer enthusiast and doesn’t have to worry about creating porcelain skin or removing nose hairs. That’s a heck of a lotta work!

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  3. Stephanie Rebello

    I love watching the work that goes into an image, I think sometimes us models tend to forget that work doesn’t end once the camera is put down and just how much time is put into editing.

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  4. Ed Rhodes

    impressive work, but the final image looks like a mannequin to me

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Take a look at the retouching article posted this morning (05/02) and you’ll see how real professional retouching looks.

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  5. Vladimir Ambía

    That’s a good picture, you must have great PS presets and actions!

    there you go ;)

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  6. Thomas Horton

    I guess we need to change the cliché. It’s not the camera, it’s not the photographer, it’s the post processor that makes a good photograph. LoL

    Can’t wait until someone starts saying “That’s a good picture, you must have great PS presets!” :)

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  7. Dave Kai Piper

    Thank you !!

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  8. robert s

    people have a heavy hand when it comes to PP today. starting out I used to do it to. not today though. if I spend more than 3-5 minutes for editing any pic of a BG then im doing something wrong in the camera. the mindset of “eh, ill fix it in PP” is just not the professional way IMO.

    the image above is beautiful but I would only do a light cleaning. and that includes softening the “flaws” but not removing them entirely. shes very pretty as is. the final image looks like shes made of porcelain. just a bit too much for my personal taste. I would have darkened the brighter shadow under her neck as it looks like a double chin hanging out.

    but like the contributing poster said “Retouching is such a subjective and controversial issue”

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    • Dave Kai Piper

      Yes ! Peliroja does have amazing skin to start with and the porcelain look is something we was going for in this image. However, when this image is printed on a nice fiber paper or something with texture it will look just perfect, this is the reason why there was also two versions edited. One is for a printed advert and the other is a stand alone image. Editing of this nature is very subjective for sure.

      Thank you for all the positive comments !! very nice to read and thank you for the support from SLR Lounge and the team !

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      @Robert S:

      I agree with you. The effect on the skin is too heavy handed in my opinion. Porcelain is putting lightly, it looks like plastic to me.

      What I would do is group the retouch layers and back off the opacity a tiny bit. You have to show “some” human flaws, reducing opacity will bring in just enough skin texture to make it look real.
      This image makes the woman fall into the “uncanny valley” category. She looks like an android or something. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept Google it.

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    • robert s

      @ J. Dennis Thomas

      I realize though that Dave is retouching a model shoot. they seem to always look for perfection with no visible flaw. its different than shooting a bride and just using a little cleanup and reducing pores and blemishes. and even though I try to do it minimally,

      ” You have to show “some” human flaws,” yes. it has to look realistic.
      everyone wants to look good but me and u who shoot portraiture is different than model for publication. they just go crazy on the faceand body

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    • Thomas Horton

      “You have to show “some” human flaws…”

      These are some wise words.

      Georgia May Jagger and Cindy Crawford seemed to have done well. :)

      A flaw can accentuate a woman’s beauty.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I shot hair models for publication back when the first incarnation of Photoshop CS was introduced. You know those big ass look-books you used to see in hair salons? They never wanted a plastic look. But hey, whatever floats the client’s boat.

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  9. Rafael Steffen

    Someday I want to learn how to retouch like this!

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    • robert s

      stop procrastinating Rafael. someday…? when your fingers are tired to press the mouse buttons? HAHAHA

      like in the video, it only takes 3 minutes ;)

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  10. Brandon Dewey

    cool video

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